A visiting Coast Guard rep gave us the following simple steps in using your VHF radio for emergency calls:
- Turn radio power on
- Tune to channel 16
- Press transmit button and clearly state three times “Mayday” (for distress) or “Pan-Pan” (for urgent)
- State: you are a kayaker named … your position …. nature of emergency …. kind of assistance needed …. number of persons …. other useful info ….
- State “over” and release transmit button
- Wait 30 seconds, repeat above steps if no response received.
Because kayaks are low profile, the range of the transmitting radio may only be a mile or so. But the radio towers or passing vessels may be able to pick up your signal, so continue to transmit intermittently until a response is received.